Editor’s Note: Jane Hurst is a business writer and regular OMI contributor. Today, she joins us to discuss how you can start a career in digital marketing by following 10 actionable steps.
As more and more companies turn to the Internet to generate sales, the need for experts in digital marketing has never been greater. It’s a fast-paced, evolving industry that has a lot of challenges, but also plenty of rewards, including a potentially lucrative income.
If you’ve thought about switching gears and getting into digital marketing, now is the time to do it. And lucky for you, it’s not necessary to have a traditional degree marketing degree to get started, although some training will help to get your foot in the door.
Here are 10 things you can do right now to start a digital marketing career:
1. Create an Online Presence
These days, when it comes to landing a job in almost any field, you might as well not exist without an online presence. For obvious reasons, this is especially true of digital marketing: a prospective employer is going to look online first to learn about applicants, and if they can’t find you, they are going to move on to the next person who has a curated image.
Create your own digital marketing blog, social media accounts that are linked to websites you have built, portfolios, etc. Show them what you are really capable of.
2. Know the Latest Trends
Digital marketing is a career that is always on the move and always changing. If you are choosing it as a career, you need to keep up with the latest trends. The needs of this industry vary over time, and if you fall behind, someone else will be waiting to take your place.
Attend virtual seminars, take online classes, and do your best to stay ahead of the game rather than simply keeping up with it.
3. Use Your Creativity
Digital marketing really allows you to use creative gifts in a variety of ways. Yes, there are methods and systems that are standardized for certain applications, but you can always add your personal flair to projects, making them creative and unique.
Digital marketing is built on creativity, so if you have an idea that you think will work, give it a try. The more creative you are, the more likely it is that you will be noticed and land that dream job.
4. Create a Winning Resume
Before you start applying for jobs, make sure to create a dynamic resume that shows just how valuable your skills are. There are many different types of resumes, and you shouldn’t limit yourself to just one, especially when you are working in a creative industry such as digital marketing.
Go online and check out various resume examples for digital marketing professionals, and tailor yours around them.
5. Get Out there and Network
It is important to get your name out there, and the best way to do that is by networking. Not only is this going to make people remember you, it is also going to give you great connections that can help you in many areas throughout your career. One person may know where you can get specific training. Another may have a lead on a great job. You will also be able to learn from their experience, and gain a list of experts you can use to put together a great team.
6. Learn about Analytics
In order to know how successful your marketing campaigns are, you need to understand analytics. This is the data that shows how well or how poorly a campaign is doing, and helps you to figure out how to make things better the next time around. You don’t have to go to college for a degree, but there are many online classes you can take on your own time that will help you to learn about and understand how analytics work, and how to use them.
7. Get Some Experience
The only way you will get your career going is by gaining experience. You may have to do some unpaid jobs, but this is a worthwhile time investment with long term benefits. Using any skills you acquire, help friends or community organizations with projects, and take on all kinds of side jobs that will give you plenty of experience that you can draw on when you to start applying for long-term digital marketing jobs.
8. Say “Yes” to Anything
We touched on doing free jobs in the last tip, and we can’t stress enough how important it is to do anything that will give you the experience you need to land your first digital marketing job. Take on free jobs, or jobs that other digital marketers don’t want to do. Demonstrate that you can take on and make the best of any project, and be successful in your endeavors.
Not only will you gain experience, but you are also showing that you are willing to work hard.
9. Get Trusted Certification
Anyone can get into digital marketing without a university degree, but the candidates who are getting the best positions are those who have a certification in digital marketing. There are classes you can take that will help you to prepare for the certification exams, and if you are really serious about digital marketing as a career, you should get certified as soon as possible.
This is going to make you stand out in a crowd of digital marketers who may be experienced, but definitely not certified.
10. Be Prepared for Entry-Level Jobs
No one is going to start at the top in any career, no matter how much training, skills, and experience they may have. You may not get the job you want right away, but you will get there if you work for it. You will likely start out as an assistant, or a junior digital marketer, until you are able to prove that you are able to take on more responsibilities and that you are willing to work hard in order to succeed in your chosen career path.
To pursue a certification in digital marketing, check out our list of certifications. For more information on any of the topics above, check out the following classes:
Social Media Tools to Build Your Audience
Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.